As a sports card store owner for close to 22 years, I have had the pleasure of seeing some great promotions come and go. The Upper Deck Hobby 2000 kits stand out as one that had some great legs and even resulted in Cam Neely being brought in to my store for a signing. A few years back, the MLBPA sent out some jerseys and other prizes that helped move a bunch of cases worth of baseball offerings. We have sent dozens of collectors to see the Broncos play in person thanks to the NFL. Beyond that, Topps has helped us reward hundreds of students with good grades with their Topps Of The Class promotion.
Those great, well thought out programs pale in comparison, however, to the BMOC offering known as Panini’s Black Friday which is back for its third year. Following the success of this year’s Father’s Day promotion with 10,000 fewer packs and all the content left in for good measure, we have had customers asking about this promotion since well before Halloween.
Back in 2012, I did not know what to expect when I told my collectors that for the first time in almost 20 years that I would be opening from 10PM – midnight on Thanksgiving. A few told me that I was insane, my wife just rolled her eyes and my family watched me devour my dinner faster than Joey Chestnut goes through 60+ hot dogs so I could get to my store in time to set it up.
What happened next blew me away. Try to imagine your LCS going through $11,000+ in cards in less than three hours and that might help paint a picture.
This year, my store stepped up our game to the tune of $16,000+ in Panini releases for a total of 1,800+ Black Friday packs. Yes, my shop alone will be giving out over 4.5% of the 40,000 packs being made available this holiday season. Sadly NHL cards will not receive the attention they have in the past since Panini has lost its hockey card license, but if the previews are any indication, MLB, NBA and NFL rookies, veterans and even some retired players will be present big time.
Looking at the previews, I’m more than glad that I loaded up as I did. If you care to see what 54 of the potential autographs look like this year, please enjoy this link. Please enjoy the sneak peek at the autographs from Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Andrew Wiggins, Joe Namath, Bo Jackson, everyone’s favorite one handed rookie WR Odell Backham, Johnny Manziel, Jose Abreu, Mark Messier, Mike Trout and more.
Another glimpse at 15 more autographs is available here.
Are relic cards more your style? Fear not, they are back in abundance with players like Jabari Parker, Teddy Bridgewater, that Johnny Football guy again, Sammy Watkins, Eddie Lacy and more having their Santa hats, team logos, Breast Cancer Awareness items and more getting sliced and diced for your collecting pleasure. The review can be enjoyed here.
Care to see what the base set looks like? Here you go.
The part about this year’s promotion that I really like is how hobby shops should see their Black Friday packs in time for a Wednesday release. For the first time in three years, shops will not have to wait until Friday to get packs into the hands of their rabid rippers. I will be pacing at the front door waiting for the delivery trucks as much if not more than when my children were born. I’m even willing to once again give up the last few hours of my Thanksgiving just to ensure that my Colorado collectors can get their packs as soon as humanly possible.
Those who don’t live near a hobby shop can still get in on the fun. Until supplies last, collectors who purchase selected products through the company’s website will receive a corresponding number of 2014 Black Friday packs with their order.
Looking ahead to the next few days, I hope that your LCS did a great job stocking up on packs, that they don’t run out too quickly and that during this season that you are thankful for Panini and the return of the best promotion of the entire year. We can get into whether you were a good boy or girl this year next month, but may your Black Friday packs be loaded with anything but turkeys.
Mike Fruitman owns Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, CO where they’ve got a brand spanking new look to their website. Normally, his column focuses on what products are selling best in hobby shops. See his eBay listings here. Enjoy new arrivals and big hits from Mike’s on Twitter. Mike’s is always looking for more friends on Facebook and you can email him at [email protected]